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Substance Dependence and the Economy

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles, California knows that the bad economy has had a negative effect on everyone.  Tough financial times are especially difficult for alcoholics and drug addicts.  Those who have recovered from alcoholism and drug addiction are at risk for relapse.  Also, many others will notice that they are using more alcohol or drugs to relieve the stresses of a bad economy.

The current economic crisis is a classic example of a relapse trigger for those in recovery.  An alcoholic may be sober for several years, going to AA meetings, using the tools of recovery, and enjoying good relationships with family and friends.  Economic conditions that may result in a lay-off, delinquent bills, foreclosure, or other financial problems can lead to a feeling of “what’s the use” and a drink.  For an alcoholic, that one drink is like medicine that cures all problems, naturally leading to many more drinks.

Using substances for relief is a clear sign of trouble for people in recovery, but denial of reality sets in quickly.  Knowing that alcohol or drugs led them to personal destruction before sobriety is not always enough to overcome the perceived benefits they currently bring.  Alcohol and drug use will most likely be hidden to avoid confrontations with family, friends, and co-workers, so changes in behavior may be the only clues that relapse has occurred.  

These problems can also affect people who control their drinking, take drugs as prescribed by a doctor, and have rarely or never used illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.  The diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction do not always take hold upon first use.  A life event usually triggers the use of substances for relief.  The discovery of this dramatic relief from overwhelming stress is quickly related to substance use by the addict and alcoholic brain, which leads to cravings and then dependence.  This process usually occurs early in adulthood, but can at any time.

In most of these cases increased alcohol or drug use is waved off as being needed to get through the current crisis.  Family and friends will usually go along with it for some time because they don’t know bigger problems may be ahead.  Most of the time, though, loved ones notice there is a problem before the alcoholic and drug addict.  So risking an argument for the sake of a better future can at least bring awareness to the individual.

Both groups described above should seek alcohol or drug treatment, and medical detoxification if necessary, at the earliest signs of abuse and dependence.  The temporary relief of alcohol and drugs do not make the problem go away.  Problems will worsen and mount as long as they are ignored.  The short-term investment in alcohol or drug treatment now will pave the way for a better future.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.




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